Long anticipated showdown between two boxing powers, WBO welterweight king, Puerto Rican superstar, Miguel Cotto(34-1,27KO’S) and pound for pound king, Pilipino idol, Manny Pacquiao( 49-3-2,37 KO’S) is right around the corner. Twelve round championship bout dubbed “Firepower” is scheduled to take place on Saturday night, November 14th, 2009 at the Mecca of boxing at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. It will be televised live by HBO Pay Per View and will be shown on closed circuit TV around other MGM properties.
“This is pretty much an even fight to me. I can’t pick a winner, “said famed HBO commentator Larry Merchant, after we watched Miguel Cotto work out for an hour and a half at the Pound for Pound Boxing Club in Los Angeles a week ago. I feel the same way: I have been going back and forth trying to visualize what would happen during the fight and I decided that I have absolutely no idea. And that is why this fight is so intriguing. Despite looking very confident while meeting reporters, the best fighter on the planet, Manny Pacquiao said: “No one really knows what will happen in the ring on fight night. I promise to give a good show for my fans.” Manny’s trainer Freddie Roach has a very different opinion. He has been studying films of Cotto fights and feels that he knows the bad habits of the Puerto Rican fighter that could be exploited. So confident is a 2008 trainer of the year, Roach of his charges victory that he wagered a thousand dollars on a knock out in rounds one, nine and ten. Considering the track record of coach Roach, it is hard to go against him, but I have a very hard time seeing Cotto being knocked out in this fight. On the contrary Cotto is a bigger and a stronger man and if any one is going to turn this fight around with a power punch, it would be Miguel Cotto landing his patented left hook. “I like Cotto,” said light middleweight contender Alfredo Angulo, who recently destroyed Harry Joe Yorgey in three rounds on national TV. Angulo’s promoter and a father figure Gary Shaw echoed the sentiments of his fighter.
“I can’t believe Pacquiao is a heavy favorite in this fight. I like Cotto, “exclaimed Shaw, who is never too shy to express his opinion.
“Cotto is a very special fighter,” said Todd Duboeff, Top Rank’s president: He is accustomed to dealing with adversity.”
“Heart, mind and skill, you put them altogether and that’s what it’s going to take to win this fight,” said Cotto while in Los Angeles last week. “I can stop the fight at any time.”
Pacqiao’s main advantage seems to be the speed, and he seems to have grown into a welterweight body perfectly. Last December he destroyed a weight drained Oscar De La Hoya at welterweight and this year he decapitated Ricky Hatton at light welterweight with one single blow.
“It was one of my best punches,” conceded mild mannered Pacquiao: “I felt it to my shoulder.” When asked how he would handle the superior speed of his opponent, Miguel Cotto replied: “We don’t know. We’re going to have to fight him and we’ll see,”
What about preparation?
“Most fights are won and lost in the gym, “Said Miguel Cotto, who has had an extended training camp without any distractions. He looks completely focused on the task at hand. He did look a little thin during the media work out. Could he be overtraining for the biggest fight of his professional career?
On the other hand Pac man had nothing but destructions and chaos in his training camp; from natural disasters in Philippines and friction in his camp to being distracted by fans and media on both continents. But Pacquiao thrives on chaos and do not expect him to be in less than a perfect shape. He knows this will be his toughest fight yet. “There will be no excuses!” exclaimed his trainer, Freddie Roach.
So what could we expect on Saturday night? The fight the world wants to see and plenty of fireworks. Stay tuned.